Sunspots 2014: Big sunspot jump harbinger of coming cooling

Giant solar flare eruption on September 26, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Austin, October 17, 2014 – Something unprecedented happened last month. With a burst of sunspot activity, Solar Cycle 24 now has the highest secondary peak compared to its first in the entire sunspot record. Cycle 24 continues to defy the experts.

As the solar cycle progresses, it’s becoming clearer this late cycle explosion of activity most closely mimics conditions during Solar Cycle 12. That one led into a period of low sunspot activity corresponding to a 0.3ºC decline in global air/sea temperatures in the late 1800s.

If the physical conditions inside the sun today are the same as Cycle 12 then earth could be headed into a mild cooling trend over the next 20+ years.

Cycle 24 sunspot progression

Solar maximum tops 80. Credit/SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released September’s monthly international sunspot numbers on October 1, 2014. Sunspots took a huge 13 spots/day leap last month.

As a result, solar maximum jumped again, too. September marks the eighth month in a row setting a new solar maximum. At 80.8, solar max is up over 80 for the first time this cycle. It’s still far below a normal 120 spots/day maximum, though. September’s monthly average went up to 87.6 spots/day.

The increase in solar activity was all in the sun’s busy southern hemisphere. Solar activity in the northern hemisphere peaked three years ago.

Cycle 24’s smoothed secondary peak became the largest ever with the newest released numbers.

Cycle 24 compared to Cycle 12

Early on, Cycle 24 was compared to Cycle 14. Some even compared it to Cycle 5 leading into the Dalton Minimum. However, with all the late cycle activity, Cycle 24 now most closely matches Cycle 12 that peaked in 1893.

Cycle 12 (1893) compares to Cycle 24. Credit/SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

These two cycles share these traits:

  • Both were preceded by long extended minimums
  • Both are exceptionally weak
  • Both have singlet secondary peaks higher than their first
  • Cycle 12 occurred at the beginning of a series of weak cycles
  • Indications are Cycle 24 will be followed by a weaker Cycle 25

It’s noteworthy that just last month Cycle 24 replaced Cycle 12 for having the highest reliably determined peak-to-peak secondary maximum in the entire sunspot record.

Cycle 12 was the lead into a series of five weak sunspot cycles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That time frame was characterized by a 0.3°C decrease in earth’s global atmospheric temperature between 1880 and 1910.

1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Credit/IPCC

Cycle 24 continues a trend of lower solar activity over the last three cycles. The IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) in their latest AR5 report suggest low sunspot activity as one of the explanations for the current “hiatus” from global warming since 1998.

Looking less like a Dalton Minimum

Dalton comparison. Credit/SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

This graph plots the three cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum (in blue), overlaid with the most recent three cycles (in red). The display is current through September 2014. Both sets of three cycles have shared similarities:

  • They have two straight declining cycles
  • The middle cycles have extended trailing minimums
  • The third cycles have secondary peaks higher than their first
  • The third cycles are exceptionally weak

However, two important differences affecting climate change have clarified over the last six months:

  1. The declining slope in cycle activity is somewhat less than the Dalton
  2. The current cycle is much stronger than its Dalton counterpart

These two differences combined imply that solar influence on climate, if any, will be less over the next 20+ years than it was during the Dalton (estimated at 0.8°C cooling).


September ended with a surprising late cycle leap in sunspot activity. Another new solar maximum record was set. Sunspot counts so far in October show there will be another new solar maximum set next month, too.

Ironically, it strengthens the case that the sun is headed into some sort of minimum activity phase.

The current cycle now looks much closer to Cycle 12 than Cycle 5, its Dalton counterpart. That supports the emerging idea that the next several cycles will be more like the 0.3°C cooling trend of the late 1800s than like the 0.8°C estimated cooling during the Dalton.

The earth climate system is highly complex. There are many intricately interrelated forcing factors that combine to produce climate change. Solar variability is just one of them. Other factors, like human CO2 emissions and El Niño, could counteract the sun’s impact. In fact, global cooling from 1946-1978 corresponds to a period of increasing solar sunspot activity.

Whether or not cooling comes to pass remains to be seen. Twenty five percent of all the earth’s recent atmospheric CO2 rise has accumulated in the last 15 years without any statistically significant atmospheric warming. It appears that human influence alone is not the soul controlling factor driving climate change, as once believed.

Solar activity is declining. Global warming has stopped. Perhaps that isn’t coincidence. If not, earth may experience a few tenths of a degree cooling over the next 20+ years.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Oct 17, 2014, in astronomy, Climate, climate change, environment, news, Opinion, Politics, science, space, Sun, sunspot activity, sunspot report, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Cooling? What does Al Gore have to say about that?

    Me thinks understanding the sun is still in its infancy.

    Good to see you posting again, my friend!

    • You are 100% correct that solar physics is in it’s infancy. Dr. Leif Svalgaard, one of the world’s leading solar physicists, agrees with you.

  2. Thanks, pundit, for informing us of the Sun’s strange behavior.

    Measurements [1] indicate that the Sun’s pulsar core in fact:

    _ a.) Made our elements,

    _ b.) Birthed the solar system five billion years (5 Ga) ago,

    _ c.) Sustained life’s origin and evolution on Earth after 3.5 Ga ago, and

    _ d.) Still exerts control over every atom, life and world in the entire solar system today[1], a volume of space greater than that of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 Earths.

    The Sun’s pulsar core thus supplies the force that holds each atom together, creating the illusion of solid matter in the solar system [2].

    As Max Planck noted, “There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together …

    “We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” [2].

    I agree with Max Planck, but not with lock-step consensus science that emerged as a war between science and spirituality after WWII ended.

    1. “Solar energy,” Advances in Astronomy (submitted 1 Sept 2014)

    2. Max Planck, “The Essence of Matter,” from a speech Dr. Planck gave in Florence, Italy in 1944, entitled “Das Wesen der Materie” (The
    Essence/Nature/Character of Matter) Quelle: Archiv zur Geschichte der
    Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797:

    • I’d say just about every astrophysicist agrees with your a, b, c and d points. They would also agree our star is a variable star. However, pretty much none of them agree with the pulsar core concept. 😉

      • Most modern (post-1946) astrophysicists blindly believe:

        a.) Our elements were made elsewhere, then ejected into interstellar space, and finally brought here in an interstellar cloud of 91% H and 9% He.

        b.) Probably few have taken the time to read Peter Toth’s 1977 report that the Sun pulses like a pulsar or an autobiography by “the astronomer, astrophysicist and cosmologist, Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), that led a radar development group for the British during WWII and later left unambiguous hints in his 1994 autobiography of inexplicable, sudden changes in the foundations of these major fields of science in 1946.”

        c.) Probably fewer yet would agree with Max Planck that a conscious and intelligent Mind is behind the force that holds each atom together.

        They are too sophisticated (full of themselves) to believe in a God, Father of Light or Spirit of the Universe.

        And that is the root of society’s current demise.

      • I would be delighted to receive comments directly and openly on evidence of the pulsar Sun from Dr. Leif Svalgaard – the scientist you described as one of the world’s leading solar physicists.

        I agree he is better than most – but more dangerous too – in advancing lock-step consensus opinions from the government as science.

      • Dr. Svalgaard comments regularly at WUWT on articles about sunspots and solar physics. Catch him there and ask your questions and he will likely answer them. He is a guy who doesn’t mince words.

      • I am banned from WUWT, but Professor Curry kindly allowed me to explain how government science became propaganda to hide the force that powers the cosmos and sustains our lives.

    • It’s nice of Dr. Curry to gave you opportunity to speak on Agenda 21. She’s a respected scientist. However, I doubt you’ll get many takers for that or the solar iron-core pulsar theory.

  3. “… global cooling from 1946-1978 corresponds to a period of increasing solar sunspot activity… ”

    Really? You mean, SC20 bigger than SC19, 21 bigger than 20, etc.?
    In fact you’re not even considering SC21, because it started in 1976.

    Or, if you admit that SC20 was much lower than SC19 and 18, then why simplify things like that. 13 years of considerably lower solar activity doesn’t count?

    I liked your article, but I think you’re a bit biased by your faith in NASA.

    • This shows the sunspot record current to 10/1/2014. As is plainly visible, the time from 1946-1978, when there was a nearly 0.2 degree decrease in global temperatures, was characterized by a general increase in sunspot activity. Cycle 20, the lone exception, was at the end of the cooling and cannot have been responsible for it.

      The climate system is complex and results from many factors. There is not always a one-to-one correspondence between sunspot activity and global temperatures in the modern record. Another example: There was also a rise in sunspot activity before the Dalton where there wasn’t a temperature increase.

  4. To explain a little better why I think your good article is biased towards NASA’s point of view, here are my arguments:

    You cited Dr. Leif Svalgaard, and I admire him as a solar scientist and his ability to follow the logic of the evidence of the solar observations.

    I disagree with him though on the influence of the Sun on Earth’s climate, especially now with weaker magnetosphere than 2 centuries ago, less general humidity in the atmosphere, slightly weaker (but non-zero) insulation of the NH than few centuries ago, etc., which favor stronger influence, especially of lower cycles.

    He advocates the Livingston-Penn effect– which first predicted a considerable drop of ssn by 2015– and I tend to agree with his arguments. It could be in 2016 or 17, but If he’s correct, the surprises of the present cycle would be only beginning.

    The polar fields have not “properly” crossed yet,

    and it’s not evident at all that they will.
    If we’re at the 3rd year of solar maximum, they *should have crossed* at some point of 2012, but the zero was reached on October of last year when the present 2nd peak started.

    *All of this* is very unusual and is not following the books, in fact is asking for a revision of the books.

    I don’t think it’s correct to compare what is happening with the Sun now with what happened ~ 150 years ago, based on the present definition of the ssn, because these measurements have changed considerably since then.

    Following the work of Geoff Sharp, and his Layman’s count,

    it’s possible to conclude that SC24 is still very close, and possibly *lower* than SC5.

    Now, if you put all these ideas together you’ll get a considerably different perspective than NASA’s reports.

    I tend to think that good part of what they say is pure speculation, and some times the humble work of folks like Geoff Sharp do a better job to explain the facts.

    • The Svalgaard solar polar graph you’ve used is not current. Solar physicist Jan Alvestad meticulously maintains current solar data at The most up to date solar polar mag field timeline graph for recent cycles is here:

      It shows that the polar fields “properly” crossed in mid-2013. That is what makes the current late cycle explosion of solar activity so remarkable.

      In the past, Svalgaard had often compared the current cycle to Cycle 14:

      As shown, that comparison went awry after about the 57th month of the two cycles.

      I’m unaware that NASA, or anyone else for that matter, has made any comparisons between Cycle 24 and Cycle 12.

    • The polar field graph that I showed is very similar to

      but has a wider range, including the maximum of SC20, and that’s why I linked to the graph of “” instead of the Stanford graph.
      The page showing the graph from “” has a direct link to the Stanford graph, it’s the same data, only non filtered.

      When I said “not properly” I didn’t mean “not at all”, I acknowledge that the fields have crossed but they have not “separated” from each other towards higher field strengths, as they do in usual cycles.

      Both fields continue to oscillate around zero magnitude (non filtered data above), similarly to what happened in cycle20, when they did not diverge from zero until the maximum was reached.
      The difference that I see between now and SC20 is that the amplitudes then (during solar max) went up to 100 micro-T while now they seem to be compressed into a less than 20 micro-T (+- something) range. The fields are 5 times “weaker” now than in SC20 (whatever this actually means).

      What I would define as “not-properly crossing” state, would be If you have the polar fields at or below ~ 20 micro-T, including possible zeroes or local flips, for an indefinite period of time from now on.

      I think that the data is showing that “proper crossing” could not happen this time.

      • What you say makes sense by your definitions. According to Alvestad’s latest results the southern hemisphere is now below -20 microTesla but the northern is not yet above +20 microTesla, nor is the overall average above it yet:

    • The Sharp paper on planetary correlations to solar activity compares SC24 to SC5 (first cycle in the Dalton Minimum). Though it has some morphological similarities to SC5, that comparison was never very close. SC24 is much stronger and always has been:

      • Do you know this graph?

        Sharp has some important points in his website for why the use of present definition of SSN is inappropriate to compare SC5 and SC24. In fact his analysis indicate that SC24 is showing somewhat lower intensity (SSN) than SC5 (using Layman’s count).

        Another point that I find interesting and that seems to corroborate his point of view is the aa-index, measured by the UK Solar System Data Centre

        The average indices for SC24 seem lower than any other previous cycle since it started to be measured, ~ 1870 (including SC12 and SC14),

        I don’t know how to explain the low aa-index, but I think it could be connected with the L&P effect and the systematic decrease of the polar fields in the last three cycles.

      • Yes, I’m aware of that graph from Sharp. It mixes apples and oranges… If you are going to compare cycles, use the same scale for all of them.

        I’m also aware that the graph display of SC24 doesn’t include most of the recent dramatic increase in solar activity. Solar max for SC24 has increased for 8 straight months and will increase again this month. Probably because when it was created, the Sharp graph looks to be about 6 months behind current and that matters.

        I’m also aware there is about a 20% upward bias (according to the experts) in counts after about 1945 that makes the modern cycles look bigger than they really are. Solar physicists are in the process of correcting that bias now.

        Decrease the SC24 tallies by 20% in the graph above and it still has higher totals than SC5. Sharp, unfortunately, may be wrong.

        Though there is some evidence to support it, I’m not a fan of planetary orbits determining sunspot activity to any great degree. If that were true then physicists would use orbits to forecast sunspot cycles and Sharp would have been able to predict the big leap in sunspot activity over the last 8 months. Nobody predicted that.

        Sharp also said something else I noticed. He said: “September Update: This month saw a moderate increase in activity with the southern hemisphere”. September’s southern hemisphere tally jumped from 37 in August to 60 in September. It’s the highest its been since March and is the 6th highest total of SC24. That seems a bit more than just “moderate” to me.

      • The graph comparing SC5 and SC24 is updated,
        Sharp updates it every month. There are no great spikes of SSN last September, in the Layman’s count.
        He gives an updated comparison of LSC with NOAA and SIDC

        in which only NOAA shows a large 2nd peak for SC24 this year, not even SIDC shows it.
        Both LSC and SIDC show the second peak of SC24 as of similar amplitude as the frist one– at the end of 2011– the difference being that the present 2nd peak is lasting longer.

      • Thanks for Sharp’s current graph. SIDC smoothed ISN counts are internationally accepted and officially define the 400-year SSN record. Why Sharp ignores smoothed counts, which are a far better measure of solar activity than pure monthly averages that bounce around all over the place, is beyond me.

        It appears that Sharp’s LSC tallies are about 30% lower than the SIDC’s unsmoothed monthly counts. It’s a lot lower than the 20% of over counting generally accept by solar physicists for the cycles since 1945.

        I think ignoring or rejecting smoothed counts coupled with under counting sunspots with his unique LSC tally method is why he is off the mark in his SC24 assessments.

  5. Last but not least, thanks for this nice post.
    The information about SC12 is new for me, the corresponding 0.3C cooling and 0.8C cooling of the Dalton Minimum was new too.
    Learning a little bit, here and there, that’s how true solar knowledge advances nowadays! 🙂

    • You are welcome. The 0.3 degree cooling comes from the IPCC global land-sea graph above. The 0.8 degree cooling is in a recent paper linked above. In both cases, the cooling was temporary. There still has been a general, overall global temperature increase of about 0.8 degrees since 1880.

  6. Really enjoyed this posting. I’m not a scientist and don’t pretend to understand everything said here. The ability of those who do post to have a civilized exchange is refreshing. Can anyone recommend a book that attempts to explain climate using multiple factors? i.e. solar activity, human activity, Earth wobble, volcanos, and 47 things I’m not aware of. Thanks, Andrew

    • I wish there were an unbiased, just-the-facts type book for people like you. I don’t believe one exists.

      I believed AGW theory implicitly for at least a decade, but was never quite satisfied with how the influence of the sun was so casually dismissed. My undergraduate degree is a bachelor of science in physics and astronomy.

      Much later, as I learned more, I changed my mind about AGW theory. I write about sunspot activity because I understand something about it and evidence is slowly accumulating that shows solar influence on climate is greater than generally believed.

  1. Pingback: Big Sunspot Jump – Harbinger Of Coming Global Cooling? | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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